Hospital being closely watched by group of GPs

The QEH has apologised after a report criticised staffing levels.

The QEH has apologised after a report criticised staffing levels. - Credit: IAN BURT

A group of GPs responsible for planning health services in west Norfolk has reassured people it is monitoring an under-fire hospital in the wake of a damning inspection report.

Members of the West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) expressed serious concerns about the Care Quality Commission (CQC) report into the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, which was heavily critical and recommended action in nine areas.

Yet after a series of meetings between CCG members and doctors at the hospital, CCG chairman Dr Ian Mack said he was 'pleased we're so engaged with the clinicians'.

Dr Sue Crossman, the CCG's chief officer, added: 'Staff in all departments we've had contact with have been extremely open. They were very willing and grateful for the opportunity to have an independent review.

'We still have concerns about the quality of services, staffing levels and financial planning. We're working with the QEH and supporting them to make those improvements.'

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She also said the CCG has worries around 'internal systems and procedures within the trust in providing us with confidence that there is an evidence base for the actions they've put in pace.'

Visiting the QEH over three days in May, inspectors highlighted problems in several areas such as medicines being stored incorrectly and patients' privacy, dignity and independence being 'not always respected'.

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Kate Gordon, chairman of the hospital's trust, said staffing was the underlying issue and pledged to make improvements to the QEH as a matter of urgency, saying she was sorry to patients who got poor care.

In a report to the CCG governing body at its monthly meeting at the Green Britain Centre in Swaffham yesterday, it was revealed that the CCG had made its own unannounced visits and has established regular meetings with hospital clinicians.

Hilary De Lyon, deputy chairman of the CCG, said: 'It is clear the QEH needs us and that they need us to work closely with them.

'It will be a difficult road but we are sure it is possible to get to where we want to be.'

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